Our Vision, Purpose, Mission
Facilitate a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society
Education - both direct impact and a large positive multiplier
Have deep, at-scale and institutionalised impact on the quality of education in India.
The primary goal of the Foundation is to contribute to a society that is “a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society” as envisaged in the Constitution of India. Towards this goal, we have identified education as a critical area that has direct impact on the economic, social and cultural development of the nation.
In order to concretize our vision we have established two institutions - Field Institutes and Azim Premji University.
We believe that the most important change leaders for improving education quality are (a) the teacher and (b) the education administrator. The Field Institutes are district level institutions that work in collaboration with the government school system on improving the capacities of teachers, school leaders, teacher educators and other education officials. This is facilitated through multiple modes of engagements - workshops, informal learning groups, Teacher Learning Centres, exposure visits, seminars, melas, etc. In addition we also work at the state-level to create enabling conditions for change. This is through building capacities of senior administrative and academic leaders, curriculum development, support for in-service teacher education processes and policy related work. At present we have Field Institutes in 45 districts across six states and one union territory. To know more about the Field Institutes, click here.
Azim Premji University
Azim Premji University was established in Karnataka by the Azim Premji University Act 2010 as a not-for-profit University. The University was founded as one of the key responses to the constraints and challenges that the Foundation encountered in education and as part of a larger strategy to contribute to the education and development sectors in the country. The University administers Masters and Doctorate level teaching programmes, conducts research, and engages with the world of practice. There are close linkages between our work in the field and the University to ensure a strong two-way connection between theory, research and actual practice. To know more about the University, click here.
In 2014, the Foundation built a third significant thrust to its work by setting up the Azim Premji Philanthropic initiatives (now referred to as the Philanthropy). It is a grants organization which provides financial support through multi-year grants to not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) who work for the most disadvantaged and marginalized people in our society.
Through the grants, the Philanthropy supports not-for-profit organizations to work for the wellbeing of vulnerable groups. These include urban poor (homeless, manual scavengers, rag pickers, migrant workers, elderly), people with disability, survivors of gender violence, adolescents at risk, children in need of care, marginal farmers, landless labourers and tribal communities. To these vulnerable groups, the grants offer immediate care, access to essential services, and the possibility of a dignified future.
The Philanthropy also engages in systematic collaboration with State Governments and not-for-profit organizations to address large scale humanitarian and development challenges through primarily a governance lens. Illustratively, reducing child malnutrition, offering legal access to under-trials, strengthening local democratic institutions, welfare delivery, rescuing lost, runaway or trafficked children at major railway junctions and improving livelihoods of small farmers through agro-ecological farming practices. In this space, the grants build capacity of stakeholders, strengthen existing Government service delivery systems in addition to providing access to immediate care and services for the vulnerable
- We work with government rural schools primarily because almost all of India‘s under-privileged children study here. We believe in supplementing the work of the government not substituting it.
- Our aim is to change the public education system rather than create “islands of excellence”. We believe it is important to raise the level of a large lake by one inch rather than fill a small glass of water. Therefore achieving scale along with quality is a key principle that informs our work.
- We believe that accountability, performance, results and concern for facts are critical to our work. While we do acknowledge the importance of results, ours is not a short-term approach meant merely to generate results. We see our work as a serious, long-term commitment. Such work demands establishing a deep-rooted presence in the places where we work (via setting up of field institutions) and engaging on a continuous basis with the public education system to facilitate change.
To know more about the challenges facing the education system in India, click here.